The European Parliament’s Transport Committee has adopted a new EU mobility package which aims to prevent fraud and improve the enforcement of existing road haulage laws.
Under the terms of the new EU mobility package, haulage vehicles which make deliveries between EU Member States will be entitled to make a second cross-border delivery within three days. Current legislation restricts deliveries across EU borders to three per seven days. The new rules, which are designed to prevent “empty runs” of trucks over long distances, will compel delivery vehicles to load or unload at least once every four weeks in the Member State in which they are registered; and will prevent trucks from carrying out new operations within two and a half days after they return to their home country.
In order to minimise the use of “letterbox companies” – businesses which are nominally established in one Member State, for example through a postal address, but which primarily operate in other Member States; usually for tax purposes – the EU mobility package will require companies which provide road haulage services to provide extensive proof of activity in the Member State in which they are registered.
Companies will be encouraged to make greater use of digital documentation and other technologies to make administration processes more efficient, reduce road check times and lessen the burden on drivers. The EU mobility package urges customs and law enforcement authorities in Member States to improve their levels of cooperation across borders in order to identify companies with poor compliance records; while companies with strong records of observing the EU’s road haulage rules should be subjected to fewer random checks. Meanwhile cosignors, freight forwarders, contractors and subcontractors who are aware that firms they do business with are breaking rules – or who ought to be aware but do not enact due diligence – should be penalised by their Member State.